Black man honoured for saving stranger’s life uses speech to criticise the police: ‘Riots work’

Black man honoured for saving stranger’s life uses speech to criticise the police: ‘Riots work’

On October 8, a man named Alex Mingus was driving his wife to work in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, when he heard what he thought was gunshots.

Mr Mingus thought that the shots were coming from far away, but when he saw a van that he thought could be connected to the shooting, he followed it. Then, Mr Mingus saw a white man bleeding profusely from his arm get out of the vehicle. Mr Mingus stopped his car and attempted to aid the man — telling him to sit down and attempt to conserve blood. He then wrapped a shirt around the wound.

“He was bleeding really bad,” Mr Mingus said in an interview with On Site Public Media. “He had gotten shot right in his wrist.”

As his wife called 9-1-1, Mr Mingus continued to aid the wounded individual and attempted to flag down a police squad car. But according to Mr Mingus’ recollection of the events, nine St. Paul Police squad cars dispatched to handle the shooting drove past the wounded man despite their pleas for assistance. Eventually, emergency responders stopped to assist the man.

Last Thursday, Mr Mingus’ contribution to saving the man’s life was recognised with the Saint Paul Police Chief’s Award for Valor at a ceremony outside of a St. Paul Police Department building. After Interim St. Paul Police Chief Jeremy Ellison presented Mr Mingus with the award, Mr Mingus took off his sweatshirt to reveal a red t-shirt with the words “SMASH WHITE SUPREMACY.”

His short speech, which took just over two minutes to make, went viral.

“Eighteen people could have stopped to help preserve life,” Mr Mingus said after he was invited to the podium. “But eighteen people chose to go to a potential threat.”

Mr Mingus, who shared that he is a certified firearm instructor and works at a high school in Minneapolis, said he understood why police were focused on apprehending the suspected shooter. He also suggested that the situation illustrates the need for people to take care of their communities, regardless of what law enforcement does

“I am very uncomfortable being here with you guys,” Mr Mingus continued. “I do not rock with the police. But I appreciate you guys giving me the opportunity to saying these things. And I just want folks to know: they don’t keep us safe. We keep us safe. Riots work. Thank you.”

The Twin Cities were, just more than two years ago, at the epicenter of a global uprising against police violence after George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

There was widespread property damage in both Minneapolis and St. Paul in the days following the murder, most notably when protesters destroyed the third precinct of the Minneapolis Police Department in South Minneapolis. Shortly after that event, a sizable majority of the Minneapolis City Council vowed to abolish the city’s police department entirely.

Last November, a measure to remove the police department from the city’s charter failed — though 44 percent of voters in the city voted to replace the police department with a new Department of Public Safety.